FFI (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur) Char B1 for Bolt Action

B1-bis captured by FFI (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur), battle of Paris, August 1944.

After thinking about Bolt Action for a while and reflecting on the rules I finally decided on which force I was going to build. My regular opponent Simon was going Italian, so I actually had quite a wide choice of potential foes, from Early War French, British Desert Rats, Anzio which would mean regular British Infantry and US forces, Russians and even Germans towards the end of the war. I did initially think about Greek, they used regular British equipment so would be quite easy to model. I did consider Late War Germans, so I could get a JagdTiger in 28mm…. but in the end I decided that I would go totally irregular and go with Partisans, so just infantry, or maybe a car or truck or two.

I have a few civilian vehicles, a Citroen Civilian 1000kg Dropside Truck.

Citroen Civilian 1000kg Dropside Truck

And the slightly bigger truck, the Citroen Civilian 4,500kg Truck with Canopy.

Bolt Action Citroen Civilian 4,500kg Truck with Canopy

I have been slowly painting the models, and was quite clear to myself that I wouldn’t buy any more models for this force until I had most of the existing models painted.

However…

On a recent visit to the Warlord Games Store in Nottingham I was tempted by the boxed model of the French Char B1.

Bolt Action Char B1 bis

The French Char B1 is one of my favourite tanks, probably as a result of making that Matchbox plastic kit of the Char B1 and the Renault FT17 when I was young. 

The Matchbox and Airfix Influence

I already have a few in 15mm for Flames of War on the workbench too.

Flames of War French Char B1 bis

So it was probably a no brainer to get one of these for my French partisan band.

The Char B1 was a specialised break-through vehicle, originally conceived as a self-propelled gun with a 75 mm howitzer in the hull; later a 47 mm gun in a turret was added, to allow it to function also as a Char de Bataille, a “battle tank” fighting enemy armour, equipping the armoured divisions of the Infantry Arm.

Among the most powerfully armed and armoured tanks of its day, the type was very effective in direct confrontations with German armour in 1940 during the Battle of France, but slow speed and high fuel consumption made it ill-adapted to the war of movement then being fought. After the defeat of France, captured Char B1 (bis) would be used by Germany, with some rebuilt as flamethrowers, Munitionspanzer, or mechanised artillery.

What I had discovered in my research about the FFI (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur) was that they had re-captured many of the German Char B1s and used them against the Germans. 

Captured Char B1 bis FFI (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur) Panzerkampfwagen B-1 740(f) recaptured by Free France forces in 1944 and used in the liberation of Paris.

B1-bis captured by FFI (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur), battle of Paris, August 1944.

This B1-bis FFI Vercors of 13rd Dragons was used in La Rochelle in May 1945.

B1-bis FFI Vercors of 13rd Dragons - La Rochelle, May 1945

So once the model is made I have two choices about which paint scheme to use.

B1-bis captured by FFI (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur), battle of Paris, August 1944.

B1-bis captured by FFI (Forces Françaises de l’Intérieur), battle of Paris, August 1944.

B1-bis FFI Vercors of 13rd Dragons – La Rochelle, May 1945

B1-bis FFI Vercors of 13rd Dragons - La Rochelle, May 1945

Of course there is a slight reality issue in that by 1944 the Italians had already surrendered and changed sides.

The model is a plastic kit and comes in a nice box.

The first stage will be to make the model kit.

Making the Ork Megatrakk Scrapjet

So one of my Christmas presents was an Ork Megatrakk Scrapjet. I haven’t really had a chance to paint or look at my Ork forces, but when Games Workshop announced their new plastic Ork vehicles and Speed Freeks, I really liked the look of them.

So it was nice for Christmas to receive the Megatrakk Scrapjet.

Ork Megatrakk Scrapjet

A favourite amongst Speed Freeks and grounded Flyboyz alike, Megatrakk Scrapjets provide rocket-propelled acceleration, impressive firepower and the hilarity of ramming into enemy lines at the helm of what is effectively a gigantic, thrust-driven drill. These vehicles allow former Ork pilots to revel in the dimly-remembered joy of mowing down enemies at point-blank range – a joy which, of course, often caused the Flyboy to crash in the first place. Explosions blossom amidst the enemy as rokkits and missiles collide with their targets, while Grot tail-gunners blaze away with chattering big shootas – the array of weaponry welded, bolted, riveted and lashed onto a Megatrakk Scrapjet is fearsome.

The box contains a single sprue. There is a lot of detail on the model, but there is only really one way to put this kit together. I think I like the potential for variety with Ork vehicles, but there is very little included with the kit that would allow you to make a second model that was similar to the original, but different enough to look Orkish. I don’t see Orks having factory production lines producing identical vehicles and even if that was the case, I don’t think that the similarity would survive contact with the enemy. Even the back story to the Scrapjet implies that this is a converted Ork aircraft.

Ork Megatrakk Scrapjet sprueThe instructions are very clear and easy to follow, and the part numbering means that you can quickly put the model together.

Having put the model together the next stage was to undercoat it with a white paint undercoat.

Ork Megatrakk ScrapjetI did consider giving the model a black undercoat, but if the main body will be either yellow or polished metal then a white undercoat will work better than a black one.

Ork Megatrakk Scrapjet

I really like the model and am looking forward to painting it.

Ork Megatrakk Scrapjet

Once it’s painted I think I might go with the Rukkatrukk Squigbuggy to accompany it.

Plastic Comet

The Comet (A34) was a British cruiser tank that first saw use near the end of World War II. It was designed to provide greater anti-tank capability to Cromwell tank squadrons. It was armed with a 77mm HV, a derivative of the 17 pounder, with the result it was one of the few British tanks with the firepower to challenge late war German designs.

One of the most popular posts on the blog is an article I wrote back in 2011 on the Battle of the Bulge reporting on the news that Flames of War was going to release models and rules for the Battle.

Then I said:

I would like to see two tanks in particular, the M24 Chaffee and the British Comet. These tanks are currently not in the FoW range.

I was pleased when Battlefront released the plastic model back in 2015, however I didn’t manage to get some until now. I am not a great fan of the plastic kits, much prefer the resin models which have more weight.

Flames of War Comet Tank

It was on the eBay I purchased two of the sets containing two Comets each.

Flames of War Comet Tanks Box OFBX08Flames of War Comet Tanks Box OFBX08

The box contains two plastic Comet sprue and were designed as expansions to the original Open Fire starter box. So you get some data cards too.

Flames of War Comet Tank Datacard

Though you don’t get the (metal) commanders that you get in the five Comet box.

Really pleased that I have some now, I have been thinking of using them not only for Late War Flames of War games, but also 1950s Cold War games. The Comet remained in British service until 1958. Reading the Hot War books from Harry Turtledove has inspired me to think about gaming some scenarios from the books. British Comets and Centurions versus Russians T34-85 and T54 Soviet tanks with American M26 Pershing and M48 Patton tanks. In the book there are also Sherman manned by (West) German forces.

So time to get building and painting.

Eine kleine Maus

Panzer VIII Maus

The Maus was a German World War Two super heavy tank that was completed in late 1944. Five were ordered, but only two hulls and one turret were completed before the testing grounds were captured by advancing Soviet forces.

It is the heaviest fully enclosed armoured fighting vehicle ever built at 188 metric tons. It was armed with a 128mm gun and a coaxial 75mm gun.

The Maus was intended to punch holes through enemy defences in the manner of an immense “breakthrough tank”, whilst taking almost no damage to any components.

Panzer VIII Maus

I’ve always been impressed with the 1/100th scale models from Zvezda as well as being good quality plastic miniatures they are also reasonably priced. My only real complaint is that the other types of models in the range are designed to fit the box, not the same scale of the vehicles. So the infantry figures and artillery pieces, are 1/72nd, some aircraft are 1/144th and even 1/200th. I have even seen 1/350th boats in the range. This is a pity. The1/100th scale vehicles though fit well with my other 15mm models.

I was intrigued the other day to see that my local model shop had the German super heavy tank Maus in their range of Zvezda kits.

Zvezda Panzer VIII Maus

I think it might have been priced wrongly at £3.50 as similar boxes (i.e. the bigger boxes) were £7.00. So I bought two for potential objectives or models for alternate history games set at the end of World War Two.

Zvezda Panzer VIII Maus

The model comprises two plastic sprues and look detailed and I think it will capture the feel of this monstrous tank.

Zvezda Panzer VIII Maus sprue

Zvezda Panzer VIII Maus sprue

The next stage will be to construct the models, even though it says snap-fit, I think I will glue the model together. I will also add some weight to the model too, so give it some heft and ballast. I think a super heavy tank, even at 1/100th scale, should be “super heavy”.

I wonder if Zvezda will produce any other models similar to this? If they did what would you want to see?

SDD Matilda II

Matilda II
By No 1 Army Film & Photographic Unit [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Infantry Tank Mark II, best known as the Matilda, was a British infantry tank. The design began as the A12 specification in 1936, as a gun-armed counterpart to the first British infantry tank, the machine gun armed, two-man A11 Infantry Tank Mark I. The Mark I was also known as Matilda, and the larger A12 was initially known as the Matilda II, Matilda senior or Waltzing Matilda. The Mark I was abandoned in 1940, and from then on the A12 was almost always known simply as “the Matilda”.

With its heavy armour, the Matilda II was an excellent infantry support tank but with somewhat limited speed and armament. It was the only British tank to serve from the start of the war to its end, although it is particularly associated with the North Africa Campaign. It was replaced in front-line service by the lighter and less costly Infantry Tank Mk III Valentine beginning in late 1941.

This model is an SDD white metal kit that I bought in the 1990s.

Matilda II

SDD 15mm Tiger I

Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf. E
By Capt. Tanner, War Office official photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Tiger I is the common name of a German heavy tank used in World War II, developed in 1942. The final official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. E, often shortened to Tiger. It was an answer to the unexpectedly formidable Soviet armour encountered in the initial months of Operation Barbarossa, particularly the T-34 and the KV-1. The Tiger I design gave the Wehrmacht its first tank mounting the 88 mm gun, which had previously demonstrated its effectiveness against both air and ground targets. During the course of the war, the Tiger I saw combat on all German battlefronts. It was usually deployed in independent tank battalions, which proved to be quite formidable..

SDD Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf. E

I have already purchased a Flames of War blister of the German Tiger I E. This model is an SDD white metal kit that I bought in the 1990s. Unlike the Flames of War model this has just four parts.

SDD Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger Ausf. E

I am thinking that I might use it as an objective or in some kind of terrain, one of the reasons for using the image above as inspiration.

British Bedford OXD

British Bedford OXD
By Zandcee (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Bedford OY is an army lorry built by Bedford for the British Armed Forces and introduced in 1939. It was based on Bedford’s O-series commercial vehicles with a modified front end and single rear tyres. The OXD was a general service vehicle, a short-wheelbase version of the OY, designed for a 30 cwt (1.5 ton) payload.

This is a photograph of a Bedford OXD in German army service in Hungary. So I was thinking I could paint it in this style.

British Bedford OXD
Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-715-0212A-26A / Kreutzer, Wilhelm / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
This is an SDD model I bought in the 1990s.

SDD British Bedford OXD

It comprises three parts in white metal.

SDD British Bedford OXD

After cleaning the castings the model will be stuck together and undercoated.

4Ground Single Storey Small Building Under Construction

4Ground Single Storey Small Building Under Construction

This is a laser-cut mdf building from 4Ground for Great Escape Games’ Dead Man’s Hand set of rules.

When a camp town started becoming more prosperous the residents would start producing town buildings, these were often frame buildings in which the timber frame was built as a shell and then the rest of the building was built in and around it.

This was easiest to do in areas with large amounts of lumber (or easy access to it by railroad). Many towns would have this kind of building almost under constant construction at one location or another as the towns grew.

These buildings make great terrain pieces as they can provide cover without blocking line of sight.

This is just the skeleton of a house.

4Ground Single Storey Small Building Under Construction

You do need to take care pressing this out, as it is a little more delicate than those models with complete walls.

I would say the roof is very challenging, so take your time and it can’t be rushed.

I have no Centurions

Alas it wasn’t to be….

In a previous post I said

So I ordered and purchased a couple of Sho’T models from the Flames of War Fate of a Nation range and will paint them up as British Army Centurions for use in Team Yankee games.

They never arrived…

Centurion Mk 5

Alas the supplier was unable to supply the models, as Battlefront have made them a direct-only order item, so I will need to order them from there.

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

This is a laser cut MDF (and card) model of a Chateau from Sarissa Precision.

Sarissa Precision Chateau

It is unpainted model and comes as a flat pack of MDF and card.

The chateau has steps back and front. They comprise the steps and go together quite easily.

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

I like the railings which work well and don’t look too bulky for this small model.

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

The back steps are constructed in a similar manner.

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

The use of card for the window frames, shutters and plinths works well.

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

The most challenging aspect of the model was the roof. It had multiple dormer windows as well as a flat roof with railings (or balustrades)

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

There were multiple components and the construction was quite challenging.

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

The finished models looks very effective, I do think though I do need to give it a coat of paint.

Sarissa Precision Chateau

The rear view.

15mm Sarissa Precision Chateau

If I was to do this again, I think I might paint the card first, as I did with my Gaslamp buildings.